nature

Love the Canal

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I’ve long loved the canal. As a London-dweller, I’d walk from Ladbroke Grove to Camden along the water. When I moved back to the Midlands, the development of Birmingham canal with restaurants and bars galore was a lively contrast to the more rural pleasures of the Grand Union Canal. I prefer the latter, as there’s so much wonderful wildlife, though it’s fun watching the birds and boats on the canal while sipping a drink in a more urban development.

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This weekend is the Crick Boat Show. Sadly, I won’t be going but if you aspire to a life on the waterways, fancy trying your hand at traditional ‘roses and castles’ painting or want to view the canal from a boat, it looks like a great event. However, if you can’t make it to Crick, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the canal this weekend.

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  1. Go on a waterfowl safari and see how many birds you can spot.
  2. Exercise in nature by cycling, jogging or walking along the canal.
  3. Count how many different types of wildflower you can find.
  4. Forage for elderflowers to make elderflower champagne.
  5. Go litter picking and help protect local wildlife. Take a fishing net to scoop rubbish from the water.
  6. Feed the birds (with oats or bird seeds, not bread).
  7. Scatter native wildflower seeds on the canal banks to help make pollinators happy.
  8. Look for boat names as the canal boats pass: they can be witty and warming (and make me wonder about the stories behind them).
  9. See how many different types of bee you can identify along the canal banks. There are around 250 species – can you find them all over the summer?
  10. Photograph the reflections in the canal.

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